You’re on a blind date. Your prospective amorreaches for the radishes. You gasp in horror. Recent research suggests that those with a penchant for bitter foods can swing towards being manipulative and antisocial… could this uber-cool, charming exterior be a ruse?

Insights like these put a whole new spin on the hit dating show Dinner DateSouth Africa, which seeks to putlove on the menu, when itreturns to the number one international lifestyle channel on DStv,BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174, for a second season from 26 February at 8pm. 

Dinner Date follows one dater who sets out to find true love over three home cooked meals.  Each episode features a new dater who must pick three menus from a selection of five dreamed up by daring ‘datees’. The hopefuls behind the lucky three chosen menus then cook their courses for their blind date in their own homes. After the three dates, the dater must choose one of their chefs to take out to be wined and dined at a swanky restaurant – leaving the other two hopefuls with a night in alone with a microwave meal. 

Now imagine if the dater knew how food choices reflect personality… he or she would probably be even pickier in selecting their top three! 

From childhood we learn to associate different tastes with emotions and assumptions such as sweet tastes are good and bitter is bad. We attribute food terminology to describe people, he’s so spicy, she’s sour and so on. If our food preferences can reveal our innermost thoughts and desires, and people really are what they eatthen this raises all kinds of questions… if you love chillies and a date does too, does that mean fiery compatibility between you two? 

Here’s a quick guide, based on some of the best-known research in this field, so next time you’re sussing out someone special, you can use their taste in food to decide if you’re a match. 

  1. Your date asks for a hot curry with extra chili sauce on the side… 

You’ve got an adventurer on your hands! Research by Hayes and Byrnes1found that those who think super-spice is nice tend to really like rollercoaster rides. They’re often sensation-seekers who take risks, drive fast, and like to be the life of the party! Also, good to know? Your potential partner is sensitive to reward – so amp up the praise to up your chances of a second date. 

  • Your maybe significant otherputs on a sweet show…

Your date is pretty sweet, in more ways than one. Come dessert and it’s their time to shine! Turns out, your sugar-lusting sweetheart picked a poison before the meal even began and has just been biding time to pop that order in. One caramel, chocolate, fudge volcano later and you can rest-assured you have a sweet soul sitting before you. In fact, researchers from North Dakota State University found that people are more likely to volunteer to do good after munching something sweet. And sweet-treat seekers score highly in agreeableness.

  • It’s the end of the meal and they order a black coffee instead of dessert…

Granted, they might just be on the banting bandwagon, but black coffee orders should raise alarm bells. Austrian researchers2have suggested that people who have overcome our evolutionary dislike for bitter tastes may be excellent at expressing themselves but may also be more likely to have anti-social personality traits, like being manipulative or insensitive. But before you start to worry, consider that those who enjoy strong bitter tastes are also more likely to be open to trying out new things. 

  • A touch of tangy….

For citrus lovers or those who favour more tangy tastes, research3suggests, these people always think before they act, which could lead to more cautious, overthinking and anxious behaviour, but they also have a proclivity for being highly creative.

  • They orderallthe salad…

Another disclaimer: this might be the result of first date jitters but if, by date three, the person is still extolling the virtues of fresh fruit and veg, then according to a 2016 study4you can expect that your flame is probably a conscientious person who is extremely empathetic. 

So next time you’re watching Dinner Date South Africa,keep this in mind so you can read a little something extra into whether the dater goes for someone extra salty, spicy or sweet! 

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